The children were 8 and 5 at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. The parents were married and the family had lived together in the United States until August 1999 when they moved to Israel. The family stayed there for 10 months when the mother took the children back to the United States for a 2 month vacation. However in August 2000 the mother informed the father that she would not be returning and she commenced divorce and custody proceedings in a Minnesota state court.
The father immediately contacted the United States Central Authority, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and on 5 October his return application was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, a federal court.
On 10 October the father filed a motion in the Minnesota state court seeking the dismissal or a stay of the custody proceedings. This was refused. On 17 October the state court granted the mother temporary custody and found that the move to Israel had only been a temporary absence and that Minnesota was the children’s home state.
The mother then issued an application in the federal court to have the father’s return petition dismissed. She argued that there were on-going state court proceedings, the state had a significant interest in matters of child custody, and the father had the opportunity to present the Hague issue in the state court.
On 7 November the federal District Court granted the mother’s motion and dismissed the return petition on the basis that the father had failed to show that the state courts would afford him adequate opportunity to litigate his petition under the Hague Convention.
The father appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The appeal was allowed and the case was remitted to the District Court (federal jurisdiction) for a ruling to be made on the merits of the return application, see: Silverman v. Silverman, 267 F.3d 788 (8th Cir. 2001) [INCADAT Reference: HC/E/USf 412].
The father had also brought proceedings in a rabbinical court in Israel. The latter ruled on 16 November 2000 that the children were habitually resident in Israel and that the retention of the children was wrongful. This decision was upheld by a further decision on 30 October 2001.